Saturday morning cartoons are alive and well thanks to the folks at Silver Dragon! Remember that feeling you would get waking up at 7am to rush down to the living room and turn the dial on the TV (note to our younger readers, TV’s didn’t always have remotes) to Fox Kids programming block? Or ABC’s Kids block? Those were the shows, Mighty Max, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mighty Ducks, Street Sharks, Gargoyles…those were the days, well unless you grew up in the tundras of Siberia. Those cartoons had all the madcap craziness and violence kids love, with a light, fluffy moral and tons of cheesy one liners. There were jokes that flew over your head because you were just a 10-year-old kid. still afraid of the monster that you totally knew was hiding in the closet. Silver Dragon Books has recently launched Jurassic Strike Force 5 and it glorifies everything from those wonderful Saturday morning cartoons.
The story revolves around the evil Zalex who travels the galaxy and conquers all in his path. (I’d like to think this is an allegory to Xenu). Xen…Zalex sets his sights on earth , over 165 million years ago, and turns the roaming dinosaurs into his evil minions. Kane, Mace, twins Razor & Talon, Rocky and Strife make up the evil Reptilians, Zalex’s evil force who are hell-bent on destroying the world. Of course they have opposition in the form of Jurassic Force 5! Rex, Tank, Spike, Saral, and Boomer make up the team of good anthropomorphic dinos, who are fighting to save the world…and galaxy.
The first issue starts with a team of explorers in Antarctica who discover a buried energy signal in the ice. When they go to explore the signal, suddenly an explosion rips through the ice, unleashing the horrors buried beneath. Zalex breaks free and releases his Reptilians that rush into action, and head to the nearest military base. A plucky young teenager is at the crash site with his father and sees all the lights and commotion. The guards warn Tyler to stay away but he sneaks into the site to find his dad. He runs into a robotic drone who treats him hostile until he assures him, he is a “friend”. The drone leads the boy to his dad and then to the JURASSIC STRIKE FORCE 5! Meanwhile the Reptilians reach the base and lay siege, destroying the weapons and vehicles and killing dozens. The army is outmatched and soon surrenders. They give the location of the nuclear weapons and tells Zalex where the president can be found. The Strike Force uncover an en-cryptic transmission from the military regarding the attack. The Force 5 suit up and prepare for battle!
Issue 2 picks right up where 1 left off, with the Strike Force gearing up in their Strike-Tank and setting off to battle the Reptilians. As they head to the base, the Reptilians finish destroying everything, but run into some interpersonal drama. Rocky and Strife get into a heated conflict and it escalates into a full-blown battle. The two throw down and go for each others throats, but it is broken up by Razor and Talon. They warn that the Strike Force is on their way, and they prepare for the confrontation. They ambush the Jurassic Force and obliterate their vehicle, but as they go to inspect it, the Force has a surprise for them and Tyler tosses a bomb their way. The Force show up behind the vehicle and all hell breaks loose. While Boomer, Tank, and Spike take care of Strife, Mace, and Rocky, it leaves Rex and Kane one on one. The battle has much more deep-seated implications, as the two are brothers! As they battle, Saral sneaks into the compound to stop their evil plans. As the battle comes to a close, Rex is ready to declare victory and Zalex shows up to stop everyone in their tracks!
This series is just a ton of fun. It really echoes back to those great cartoons from the early 90’s. Cheesy dialogue, wacky characters, and just a lot of ludicrous action. The plot is very straight forward, you know right away who the good guys and bad guys are and you accept it. Talking dinosaurs that have high-grade, futuristic weapons? Sure why not! It revels in the cheese of it all, and has you wanting more. Created by Joe Brusha, and written by Neo Edmund, with artwork by JL Giles-Rivera, and colors by Jeff Balke. The writing is a grade above the cheesy cartoons of yesteryear, with bad one liners, and hip, fast speech. But that is the beauty of the series. There are plenty of comics that take themselves serious, it’s nice to see a comic that enjoys being a “comic”. The artwork is rich and colorful, and drawn in good detail thanks to Giles-Rivera. While reading the book, it’s almost like you know where the story is going before it gets there, and you cheer along the way as they fulfill your expectations. If you long for your childhood of crowding around the TV and watching Raphael and the rest of the Turtles crack wise and beat up the Foot, or watching the Sharks chew up the ground and beat up Dr. Piranha, then this series is for you. The special issue #0 is available now, and issue #1 was just released. Issue#2 will be out on the 15th of February. IF you’re interested in the series, or just have fondness for the glory days of Saturday mornings, sound off in the comments!